It is no secret that trucking is a male-dominated industry. In the United States, there are over 3 million truck drivers, women accounting for only 200,000 of them. Despite the still lacking numbers, the percentage of women in trucking has grown substantially in recent years. Programs dedicated to promoting careers in driving among women, like the Women in Trucking Association (WIT), have greatly helped this increase. A newly formed Canadian advisory committee is hoping to have similar success.
Supporting Women in Freight Transportation (SWIFT), a new initiative announced earlier this week by Trucking HR Canada, is hoping to encourage more women to pursue careers within the trucking industry. The committee, made up of senior managers, directors, presidents, and C-level executives of various trucking companies, are focusing on three main goals. SWIFT will work to raise awareness of the many career opportunities for women in the trucking and freight transportation industries while also helping women develop practical tools necessary to find these careers. In addition, SWIFT hopes to raise awareness among employers in the trucking industry of female-friendly recruitment and retention practices.
SWIFT plans to achieve their goals in many ways, including the development of a national employment strategy and identifying the most prominent challenges and barriers women in the trucking industry face. SWIFT also seeks to break the stereotypes surrounding women and trucking and begin promoting the trucking and transportation industry as an industry for women.
The statistics concerning women and trucking are certainly eye opening. According to SWIFT, a mere 3% of all of Canada’s truck drivers, mechanics, transport trailer technicians, and cargo workers are females. Women also only account for 11% of managers, 13% of parts technicians, 18% of dispatchers, and 25% of freight claims/safety & loss prevention specialists in the trucking industry.
“While many gains have been made, women are still largely under-represented in trucking-related careers,” explained Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada. “This challenge needs to be addressed as the trucking industry looks to ease an intensifying shortage of skilled workers.”
WIT, which was started in 2007 to promote women in trucking in the United States, will be working closely with SWIFT. Ellen Voie, founder of WIT, will attend SWIFT’s inaugural meeting on April 11 in Toronto. “We’re going to learn from material that WIT already has,” Splinter said, “ and we’re in conversation and working together so that both initiatives are complementing each other.”
The need for women drivers has also become more pressing in recent years as trucking companies have been faced with a driver shortage. According to Business Week, about 25,000 trucking jobs went unfilled in the US during 2013. Analysts only expect the driver shortage to continue to worsen in the coming years. More women drivers could help ease the ill effects of this driver shortage on trucking companies.
, Trucking Life
, Women in Trucking